During 2019, there was much comment in the English and Welsh media about a lack of farmland hitting the market.
Our colleagues south of the border reported that in 2019 the volume of farmland marketed for sale hit a 10-year low with supply down more than 40% on the previous year.
The main rationale was due to political uncertainty surrounding Brexit. In Scotland, despite a reserved first quarter, we did not witness the same dramatic change. Supply, in terms of acreage for sale, did fall and was the lowest in five years (down 32% from 2018).
This under supply was exaggerated due to 2018’s record breaking year, when more land hit the market than any other in the preceding decade. In reality the Scottish farmland market in 2019 behaved in a similar manner to other recent years when uncertainty has been prevalent. In years of potentially significant political change, there is a tendency amongst vendors to be more cautious and less committed to sell.
Examples include during 2014, when Scotland voted on independence, and in 2017, following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. The market has always bounced back, and we predict that it will again. However, we do not expect it to do so until clarity is provided on the future of farming, which will allow businesses to make informed decisions.